This is the last Saturday of the regular season, and the Tigers are destined to finish in last, or second to last, place.
Disappointing season and all of that. Ausmus back next year for some inexplicable reason. Blah Blah Blah.
Let’s talk a bit about the season that was.
Tiger of the year: JD Martinez
Biggest Letdown: Victor Martinez
Most Overlooked: Blaine Hardy
Most Overvalued: Jose Iglesias
Biggest Rebound: Verlander
Best First Look: Norris
Biggest See Ya Later: Nathan
Reasons to be excited for next year: Cabby, JD, Victor, Verlander, Anibal, Norris, Wilson, McCann, Iglesias, Kinsler, Hardy
Reasons to be worried about next year: Back of rotation, Bullpen, Third Base, Left Field, Centerfield, Bench.
The most shocking part of this team, to me, was the rotation. The rotation was terrible this year. Price was good in the first half, and pretty much right when they traded him Verlander turned it up. So the team had one great pitcher all year. That’s it. Flashes from Simon and Sanchez, Norris. But nothing great.
I knew the bullpen would be bad. But I assumed the rotation would be stellar. They were not. They were bad, very bad.
It makes me very worried because pitching is the most expensive thing to buy. Not a good sign for a team that already has a bloated $160M payroll.
The most surprising thing, in a good way, was JD. I did not know if what we saw last year was a one time deal. Players don’t often get cut from the worst team in the game and go on to hit over 30 homers. It is rare. The list is pretty much JD and Ortiz (I’m sure there is more, was Ortiz cut? I have no idea).
I predicted the team would finish third in the division, and I suspect that if they had not sold at the deadline, they would be right there. Price and Verlander tearing it up. Cespedes making an MVP case here in Detroit. Soria holding down what leads are handed to him.
But they did the right thing in selling. Pretty much nothing they have done since, firing Dombrowski and retaining Ausmus, has been the right thing.
Last week I went to the last Saturday game at Comerica and it was a lot of fun. It is always sad to walk away from that ballpark each fall. I enjoy this sport so much, and even though I do not get to devote as much time to this as I used to (my daughter does not much like it), it is still a major passion of mine.
I cannot wait for the post-season.
I will get into post-season predictions next week.
For now, I just want to say that I really want to see Pittsburgh and Toronto in the World Series.